HOUSTON -- There may have been more acrobatic or more electrifying defensive plays made by the Astros this year, but J.D. Martinez's throw from the outfield to cut down a runner at the plate in June trumps them all when you consider the circumstance.
With starting pitcher Lucas Harrell hanging onto a tenuous shutout in the ninth inning of a 1-0 game and with runners at first and second and one out, Martinez threw out San Diego's Alexi Amarista at the plate following a Logan Forsythe single to preserve a lead on June 27.
Harrell secured his first career complete game and shutout in dramatic fashion, striking out Nick Hundley for the final out to strand the bases loaded in a scintillating 1-0 win over the Padres. Martinez's throw saved the game and also earned him a GIBBY nomination for Play of the Year.
Major League Baseball's A-listers will take home 2012 GIBBYs trophies -- the ultimate honors of the sport's awards season -- based on votes by media, front-office personnel, MLB alumni, fans at MLB.com and the Society for American Baseball Research.
This year's GIBBY Awards feature nominees in 21 categories. Individual honors will go to the MLB MVP, in addition to the year's best starting pitcher, hitter, closer, setup man, rookie, breakout hitter, breakout pitcher, comeback player, defensive player, manager, executive and postseason performer.
GIBBY trophies also will be awarded for the year's top play, storyline, hitting performance, pitching performance, oddity, walk-off, Cut4 topic and postseason moment, from MLB.com's Must C highlight reels.
In the past four years, you the fans have cast more than 40 million votes across the various GIBBYs categories, none of which were restricted to individual League affiliation.
You can vote as many times as you want until fan balloting closes Sunday, Dec. 2, at 10:59 p.m. CT.
Winners will be presented their GIBBY trophies at the MLB.com Greatness in Baseball Yearly Awards extravaganza during the Winter Meetings in Nashville, Tenn., on Tuesday, Dec. 4.
How important was Martinez's throw? Harrell was the only rookie pitcher in the National League last season to throw a shutout.
Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter.